The Genetics of Belief

Faith communities at their best add immeasurably to the storehouse of human well-being. Works of charity, celebration of the ineffable Mystery of the world, rites of passage, ethical principles'

Excuse me! Faith communities, throughout time, have followed the example of the Abrahamic god who murdered and instructed his people to murder. If you doubt it, all you have to do is read the holy scriptures or the diaries of the men and women burned at the stake because they understood the healing power of herbs, or the men who were slaughtered at the whim of this capricious god who seemed to favor one clan over another, one village over another, one people over all others. Let us not forget the Crusades or the Inquisitions. Have you read the histories of these outrageous mass murders? Or let us not forget what the religious invading Spanish and English colonizers and their attempt at genocide. Read that history if you want your toenails to curl. 

Murders, rapes, hangings, burnings, oppression, exploitation, domination.

It puzzles me that when people talk of their religion they discuss such things as love, cooperation, care, commitment, faith, obedience to a high power when the literature reveals the most god-awful atrocities committed in the name of their god, whoever that is. 

What do I see? Hate! Hatred of Blacks! Hatred of women! Hated of men who think differently than you! Hatred of homosexuals. Hatred of immigrants! 

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Faith communities have habitually indulged in selective vision, compartmentalization, willful ignorance, and (whether they want to believe it or not) systematic castigation of those who do not belong to their particular in-group.  If they come around to societal changes, they are frequently the last to do so, though also tending to allege well after the fact that they were leading the charge.

Such people are an embarrassment to the rest of Homo sapiens.


Can you give several examples of what religious people do or say that is, "...systematic castigation of those who do not belong to their particular in-group."?

My point of question is on how and what steps is this 'systematic castigation' put into effect.

The reason I asked is because there is something about that term personally.

Thomas, I can cite everything from a reliance on Psalms 14:1 regarding atheists to the bullying of gays and Lesbians, based on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.  Every half-assed challenge we get, from "where do you get your morals" to the implicit threat behind Pascal's Wager is part of their standard language and toolkit.

If I call it "systematic," it's because of the repeated incidences reported here and elsewhere by those who have been forced to put up with those specious arguments and others like them.


The reason I ask is because.....

Things I remember and now know....

* I went to Sunday a several times and the person there didn't like me ( that was how I perceived it when I was 6 years old) I was eventually pulled out or stopped going.

* I was an alter boy and after one ceremony, I wasn't an alter boy thereafter.

*I went to Catholic School and eventually stopped going there while my brothers and sisters continued going.

For a sociality accepted 'normal boy ( or girl) ', this would be a relief not having to go to these church functions ...Like who wants to go to dull hours of preaching when we could go to the beach and play? I wouldn't want to continue either, but the the gist of it is the continuing offensive behavior and attitude these religious people have had on my growing years....

This I know now...... that because of me, there was a lot shame involved. So instead of acknowledging me as I was then I was put out of sight. To this day and it happened again this morning, I still get 'corrections" by strangers who perceive me as 'not one of them'.

Thomas, Ouch! I read a lot of pain in your comment! 

This I know now...... that because of me, there was a lot shame involved.

Are there some things about you that you feel pride and self-respect? Can you tell us things about yourself that make you smile, or happy, or proud? 

I want to get this comment in asap b4 my computer crash again...

I've been wanting to answer you question but I needed time to reflex on how to respond. I way I feel about it is what Loren said about protesting, fighting, and changing perceptions. I did mention to you before about fighting.

On my personal history I have spoken about on other threads and is mostly in obvious hints.

Of course there is more but I need time.... for now

What makes me happy is blasting my tunes. ( I recently posted Eric Clapton's "Promises")

What makes me proud are what my kids are thinking and working through what society perceived their parents as 'different'.

What makes me smile is after I brushed my teeth  :)

Thomas, I was largely clueless about religion for the vast majority of my life.  I was raised christian and taught that christianity was necessary to civilize the world, and mostly I agreed with that concept.  In my early adulthood, I got away from it, but continued to sustain a sense of spirituality, mostly through my practice of TM.  Among other things, it took the catholic priest / child abuse scandal and 9/11 to wake me up out of my torpor and light the flame which would feed the firebrand atheist in me.

And indeed, firebrand I am now, though less determined to utterly eliminate religion than to blunt its influence in society and especially in government.  The pragmatism which I learned as an engineer has forced me to recognize realities on the ground regarding what is possible regarding social and religious engineering and what isn't.  That doesn't change the fact that religion is irrational, and the more such irrationality spreads among people, the more endangered we and our planet become.  We simply cannot afford that irrationality anymore, not and hope to survive long term.  It is that big picture I care about, less for myself than for my daughter.

That's why I fight.

My father, a first-class hypocrite, used to thank his god for his selective memory. He called it a big blessing...

Oh! yes, Chris, those old ghosts haunt us. 

That is what is so puzzling to me about hypocrites and old ghosties.

When ever a person express a belief and say it as a fact, they are certain of it. If another person states fact that pokes a hole in the persons belief, that person will come up with a fallacy to explain it. If then the fallacy doesn't work, then just deny it.

In my own experience, when a person pokes a hole in my opinion or belief it is hard for me to simply deny it. It even go so far that the little known fact will constantly bug and nag me until I confront my denial or ignorance and open it to accept it and rethink, and think about it some more until I can resolve the conflict. How do I know when I resolve the conflict? That happens when the burden of carrying denial is gone or that I feel a sense of enlightenment and or acceptance. Or simply that 1 +1 does equal 2.

I become free.

What is so puzzling for me about these religious people is the ready willingness to continue to ignore facts. Carrying all that denial and ignorance is a burden and oppressive to the well being of an individual.


Apart from that, hypocritical characters fascinate me, because I can't understand if or how they can have an internal consistency.

- everything they say or do serves their own needs, never another's.

- they use empathy only to lower your defenses and use you.

- they love no one but themselves.

- truth is what they want and has nothing to do with generally accepted things.

- etc.

Remember anyone like that? Shun them like the plague.


Those behaviors define sociopathy and narcissism well.

Their consistency?

Everything they do is for themselves, yet one way to recognize them early is that they will at first and smoothly seem concerned only with you.

Some of the literature says another way to recognize them early is their predatory stare.

One college psychology professor advised "Don't lie to a sociopath. He will spot clues that you don't know you are sending."

Yes, shun them like the plague.

To learn more search on "Robert Hare". He made studying them a career.




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